Thursday, January 23, 2014

Dragon Fruit aka Pitaya

1/23/2014
Submitted by Marcia Van Camp

If you are having a Hobbit party, you should try to add Dragon Fruit to the menu.  I bought this at Grand Mart, and although I had heard of them, I had never eaten one before.  It has the prettiest color, and it looks like it could really be a dragon's egg.  

This fruit, reminds you in flavor a little of the kiwi, but without so much acidity.  If you are allergic to kiwis, don't worry, because this fruit is part of the cactus family.


Here is a picture of me...with a Hobbit shirt, being VERY excited to eat this fruit with my husband and friends. 

Basically, the outside is not very hard, so get a sharp knife and just slice it down the middle.

So cool!!!  This is probably not what you were expecting, but yes, it looks like cookies and cream.  After you have opened it up, you can easily scoop it out with a spoon and start eating it.  The seeds are soft and not a problem or annoying to eat.

This fruit is very good and it is more of a mild sweetness, so you can eat a lot of it.  We mixed some into a smoothy and really liked it that way.  Since the skin is so pretty, you could also mix it with other fruit, and then use the skin as a bowl for fruit salad.  I am sure there are plenty of fun recipes online as well.

Enjoy!

Rambutan aka "Dragon's Eyes"

1/23/2014
Submitted by Marcia Van Camp

For my birthday this year, I decided to buy some unique fruit for our Hobbit themed party.  I bought Dragon fruit and also "Dragon's Eyes" which are officially known as Rambutan.  They are sweet, very good for you, and are similar to a lychee.  I bought these at Grand Mart in Falls Church, VA, but other international stores might carry them as well.  The clerk who helped me said they had a lot of these in Honduras where he grew up.  There are also several different types, so what you see might be a little more colorful, or might be smooth as well.

Below is how to eat them, so if you find these, grab some and try them out!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rambutan


When rambutans are on the tree, they are very brightly colored.  The ones in the store I bought were darker, but they tasted great.


To open them, take a sharp knife and cute a circle around the outside of the rambutan.  Keep in mind that the outer layer is very thin, so you don't want to cut very deep, or you will cut into the fruit.

After you are done cutting, you can take the fruit completely out.

There is a seed in the middle, so you can bite around the seed, or put the whole thing in your mouth and spit the seed out.  You could also try cutting around the seed if you prefer.  Regardless of the method, some bits of the seed will come off with the fruit, but that is ok.  You can eat them, or spit them out.

Another note about ripeness.  When you open the rambutan, the fruit should be clear and firm without a lot of excess liquid.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Golden “chicken” Patties

From Vegetarian Times
Submitted by Mom



Ingredients
(2) 15 oz. cans chickpeas
1 ½ c. quick oats
1 clove of garlic minced or 1 tsp garlic powder
Salt to taste (1/2 tsp season-all works well)
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
2 tbls. olive oil (optional)
2 to 3 tbls. vegetable oil

Directions
1. Drain the chickpeas and keep the liquid
2. In a food processor or blender process the chickpeas with ½ c. of the liquid.  If your puree is dry, add more liquid a tablespoon at a time to achieve a smooth, thick paste
3. Place the chickpea puree in a mixing bowl
4. Add the remaining ingredients expect the vegetable oil
5. Mix well, adding additional water or oats as necessary to make a mixture that keeps its shape.
6. Shape into 8 patties (put a small amount of butter in your hands to form the mixture so that it doesn’t stick)
7. In a heavy skillet, heat the oil (about medium) and fry the patties until golden brown on each side.  About 5 minutes on each side

Serving Suggestion: serve like burgers, with tomatoes, lettuce/spinach, etc.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Winter Olympics

Date: June 6th, 2009

As I searched through some old photos, I found these photos from a cake contest a few years ago.  We had so much fun making this, and I remember how extremely heavy it was to carry.  I still can't believe we were able to get it to the church in one piece. 

Team: Marcia Van Camp, Linda & Nick Peterson
Theme: Olympics!!!

 
 
Many cakes were baked and assembled

 Before the frosting begins

 Laying down the track

Look at the cute lil' trees and the fresh powdery (delicious) snow   

 Front view of all the winter events

 umm...these were harder than we thought

 action shot!
 
 Half-pipe with a snowboard

 Extreme skiing

 Down the black diamond

Look at the aerial!
 
The audience is speechless...

 Ohh....ahhh....!!!

The winners!
 
Oh my...this creation was so so big.  It took up the whole kitchen table
 
The luge
 
Arms of steel carrying the cake to the judges table
 
First prize, we are so happy!

 
 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Casey's Sweet Kick Sauce

7/17/2013
Submitted by Casey Van Camp



Ingredients:
1 cup of ketup (Heinz 57 is our favorite)
2 tsp. Chipotle Chili Pepper (McCormick)
1/2 tsp. Roasted Garlic & Bell Pepper (Perfect Pinch from McCormick)
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 basil leaves
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 tbsp. lime juice
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. white sugar
2 tbsp. brown sugar (we used light brown)
1/4 cup of water


Directions:
Add all ingredients together and stir, simple as that!

Notes:
1. This recipe can be used as either a marinade or a sauce.  If you want it to be a little thicker so use as a sauce, add less water.  We used this as a marinade on chicken which we grilled and it was very tasty.  We also shredded the chicken and added more sauce for sandwiches.  It is great on steak too!

2. Here are pictures of the 2 special seasonings that we used

Monday, July 15, 2013

Apple and Sage Pork Chops

Submitted by Marcia Van Camp
found at http://www.mccormick.com/Recipes/Main-Dishes/Recipe-Inspirations-Apple-and-Sage-Pork-Chops



Ingredients
1 1/2 teaspoons Sage, Rubbed
1 teaspoon Garlic,Minced
1 teaspoon Thyme Leaves
1/2 teaspoon Allspice, Ground
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 boneless pork chops, 1-inch thick (about 1 1/4 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 red apples, thinly sliced
1/2 cup apple juice

Directions
1. Mix flour, all of the Spices and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of pork chops with 1 tablespoon of the seasoned flour.
2. Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add pork chops; brown on both sides. Remove from skillet. Add onion; cook and stir 3 minutes or until tender. Add apples; cook and stir 2 minutes.
3. Stir in juice, sugar and remaining seasoned flour until well mixed. Return pork chops to skillet. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 5 minutes or until desired doneness.

Notes
I was not sure how the onions and apples would taste, but when they were done, they were so delicious.  The only thing I would do differently next time would be to marinate the pork chops ahead of time in maybe apple cider vinegar or apple juice with some of the seasonings above.  All the flavors were great, but the pork chops were just a little dry in the middle and I wanted them to be a little more savory.  I would make this again especially in the Fall, it was very tasty!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Tiger Butter

Submitted by Marcia Van Camp

I do not know where my mom found this recipe but it is a Brisson Family Favorite and something we make every Christmas.  It is rich and decadent and oh so delicious!





Ingredients:
24 oz. of semi sweet chocolate morsels
24 oz. of white chocolate morsels
18 oz. of chunky peanut butter (Skippy is my preference)
 (also depending on the size of the jar, the amount can be adjusted within a few ounces more or less)

Special Items:
Wavy cutter (see photo below)
Wax paper


Directions:
1. Take a 9x13 pan or cookie sheet and cover the bottom in wax paper.  You can use another size, but just make sure it has an edge since you will be pouring in liquid goodness

2. Get 2 saucepans on the stove and turn the heat on medium for the first and low for the second

3. In the first saucepan (medium heat), combine all the white chocolate and peanut butter.  Stir constantly.

4. Add the semi sweet chocolate morsels to the second pan (low heat) and stir constantly. 

Note:  You will basically have 2 pans heating at once but you want the white chocolate mixture to be done a little sooner because it takes longer to melt down.  If you try heat both at the same time, the chocolate will dry out.  Usually, when I see that the white chocolate mixture is almost done, I turn the heat up on the semi sweet chocolate so that it will melt down and give me time to pour out the white chocolate mixture onto the wax paper.

5. Once the white chocolate mixture is creamy, pour it onto the wax paper in the pan and spread somewhat evenly.

6. Turn up the heat on the semi sweet chocolate and when it is melted, pour it in about 5-6 lines vertically on top of the white chocolate mixture.  This will be a crazy not pretty looking process but don't worry, it will be fine.  Then take a butter knife and run it through the mixture slowly in horizontal lines (about 5ish) and then in vertical lines (about 5ish).  You really don't want to do more than that because it will mix everything up too much.  Horizontal once and vertical once and you are done.

It should look like this when you are done (ignore the cuts, that is for later)


7.  Then stick it in the fridge for about 2 hrs to cool and harden.  Take it out and let it sit for 5 minutes.  You will want to cut it but if it is too cold it will be brittle and won't take the pattern of your wavy cutter.  Start cutting it up and remember that however you store it, you will need wax paper between the layers or it will stick together.  When I make it for Christmas, I have little containers standing by so that I can divvy it up and get it out of the house asap...or else there will be nothing left!






6. Here is what the pieces look like when they are all done.  So pretty and yummy!  I try to cut them small because they are really rich.  You can serve them on a pretty plate for a party or package them up for your friends and family but remember...keep everything in the fridge not because they will spoil but because that peanut butter makes everything really soft if they are out too long.




 Here is a fun cartoon picture!  Yummy!



Enjoy!

Notes:
This is a fun treat to make with 2 people so that each person is stirring 1 pan and it makes it a little easier.  My mom likes to use a double boiler to melt the chocolate and you might find that works well for you too...I don't have the patience or the pans to go that route but as long as you don't overcook and dry out the chocolate you are fine either way.